2017 was, for me, a year of learning. I learned much about myself and other people. I learned that after a long time of being told by family, past friends and other people I have left in the past, as well doctors, counsellors and bosses that I was not strong, or ‘robust’, that I am actually one of the the most robust and determined people I know. Yes, I may be hurt deeply and very much affected by horrible situations, but I have never given up. And though I may shrink down in front of someone who shows me hatred in deeds, words or violence, I have always endured. Sometimes it is not about standing up and making yourself bigger than the aggressor, it is simply realising that that aggressor, or situation, should not be part of your future.
My toughness lies in my small world. And It is small. I have learned enough to know that I cannot conquer it all. My happiness lies in the people I hold dear. My family, my friends, whether they be the ones who give me hugs when I need them or the ones that I may never physically meet. Someone once called these my imaginary friends, but you, if you are reading this, are not. You are wonderful. You are my distant penpal of this electronic age.
My grandparents met online (well the 1940s equivalent of). My great aunt’s husband had a friend drafted in the war with nobody to write to, so she asked my nan to write letters to this fellow. They exchanged letters and photographs. She swiped right and not too long later they were married. Likewise, I met my husband on a videogames forum. I’ve met a good number of my real life friends who we go on a holiday with every year on that same forum and I met my best friend on what I might describe as a ‘dating app for new parents’ where you can meet other clueless people with tiny wrinkly humans and sit together shrugging at the sheer confusion of what you are supposed to do with them.
I also learned about happiness. I learned that my happiness may be different from other peoples’, and that’s fine. My happiness may be seen as boring or dull to others, but it is perfect for me. My happiness is in my comfort and conversation, warm evenings of creativity with my husband and knowing how to create the perfect brio train track for my little boy as I know what all his favourite pieces are and how important it is to have the bridge slope down into the tunnel because it’s just the best thing in the world when the ChooChooooooo comes zooming out of that wooden tunnel piece at speed before rounding the corner. My happiness is not in flash cars, fancy dining or holidays. I do not live for the weekend. I live my every moment of each day and the steadiness and reassurance of that is what makes me happiest.
This coming year I hope to keep on learning, and to recognise my own strength even when others do not recognise it as it may not be the same as their own. I will also continue to enjoy my own happiness, even if others cannot understand it, because it may not be the same as their own.
I wish you your own strength and steps towards your own happiness for 2018. Thank you for reading my words, and, if you write (whether in the form of comments, post on social media, for books or other media) for letting me read yours.